By National Right to Life Political Department
Can you believe it? The first votes in the 2024 presidential election are less than a month away from being cast!
On January 15th, voters in Iowa will be the first to make their voices heard. Iowa Republicans will gather for the Iowa Caucuses and select who they want to be their party’s presidential nominee.
Iowa Democrats will be able to gather for caucuses regarding party business (pursuant to state law), but they will not vote for president in-person on January 15th. In a controversial rules change by the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Iowa Democrats will cast delegate-determining votes exclusively by mail beginning January 15th until Super Tuesday (March 5th). The results for Democrats will not be announced until Super Tuesday.
For the Republican field, Iowa is where the rubber meets the road for those candidates looking to prove they can go toe to toe with former President Donald Trump, the undisputed frontrunner in the race. The latest Trafalgar poll of likely Republican voters in Iowa showed Trump ahead with 45%, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 21.7%, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley with 19.4%, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy with 4.7%, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with 4.1%, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson with 1.3%.
While Trump leads the pack by roughly 20 points or more in most Iowa polls, he leads by even wider margins nationally. A new Wall Street Journal national poll finds Trump garnering 59% of the vote while Haley and DeSantis receive 15% and 14% respectively. No other candidate cracked double digits.
However, since there is such heavy speculation that Trump will finish first in Iowa, an upset win or an unexpectedly strong showing by one of the other Republican candidates could throw into question the perceived inevitability of Trump’s nomination. An upset in Iowa could alter the trajectory of the race as it heads to New Hampshire and beyond. New Hampshire follows Iowa on the Republican nomination calendar with the first-in the-nation primary on January 23rd.
The Republican field has winnowed significantly in the leadup to Iowa. No longer in the running are Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, former Texas Congressman Will Hurd, radio host Larry Elder, businessman Perry Johnson, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.
On the Democratic side, incumbent President Joe Biden has two major primary challengers in Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota and author Marianne Williamson. As it stands, the RealClearPolitics national polling average has Biden up by 60 points over his rivals. Neither Phillips nor Williamson crack double digits.
In 2020, Biden came in an embarrassing fourth place in Iowa, finishing behind Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. In order to avoid another potentially lackluster showing for Biden in the first nominating contest of the cycle, the DNC switched up the calendar. Instead of Iowa, South Carolina, the state that was instrumental in Biden securing the Democratic nomination in 2020, will go first for Democrats. South Carolina Democrats will vote on February 3rd.
As it stands, New Hampshire still plans to hold its first-in the-nation primary on January 23rd, in violation of DNC rules. However, Biden will not appear on the ballot and convention delegates will not be awarded for the winner.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a lifelong Democrat, recently abandoned his bid for the Democratic nomination, instead opting to run as an Independent rather than fight an uphill battle against what many consider a nomination process rigged for Biden. Kennedy criticized the DNC for “fixing the process so it makes it almost impossible to have democracy function” and “disenfranchising the Democratic voters from having any choice in who becomes the Democratic nominee.”
In Florida, Democratic voters may not even have a presidential primary after the state party submitted only Biden’s name as a possible candidate. Congressman Dean Phillips responded by saying, “Americans would expect the absence of democracy in Tehran, not Tallahassee. The intentional disenfranchisement of voters runs counter to everything for which our Democratic Party and country stand. Our mission as Democrats is to defeat authoritarians, not become them.”
Even with a level playing field for the three major Democratic presidential candidates, the party would still be on track to have a pro-abortion nominee. There is little daylight between Biden, Williamson, and Phillips on the issue of abortion.
All three support a nationwide policy of unlimited abortion for any reason until birth and the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions. All three have pledged to sign the so-called Women’s Health Protection Act, which would not only enshrine abortion on demand in federal law but also strike down virtually all existing state-level protections for unborn children and their mothers, including parental involvement measures.